WAHT RAHUL GANDHI COULD NOT DO?

Rahul Gandhi has been missing the point – and the phenomenon is now so famous that it has become a routine stuff in Indian politics of the day.

He could not capitalize on the ‘brand Kalawati’, a grand opening that he had got in Indian politics (with a possible tag of ‘politician with a difference’), and let her be a dragging point for his political career when it started maturing.

He could not come forward and take the country’s leadership in unorthodox ways that the country needed. He had the golden opportunity of taking credit of giving India’s its Lokpal after the massively popular anti-corruption movement of 2011 and thus had the space to present himself as the ‘new type leader of Indian masses’ but he failed to do so, even if he later on, famously tore down his own government’s document to ‘protect’ tainted lawmakers.

No effective movement on ‘Lokpal’ or no effective curb on political corruption later on told us that Rahul failed to translate display of his public aggression and maturity into action. In fact, if we go by the need to set the precedent, even his family needs to come clean on corruption allegations on Robert Vadra, his brother-in-law.

He very eloquently spoke about his hatred of corruption at a FICCI event in December 2013 – “Biggest issue is corruption, it is an unacceptable burden on our people. We must fight corruption.” – while just before that, his party’s government in Maharashtra had ‘summarily rejected the Adarsh Housing Society scam report (report which implicated many political leaders and bureaucrats). While speaking at the FICCI AGM, he was silent on this report.

Questions over Rahul’s intent were being raised as early as 2010 with Congress’ debacle in Bihar assembly polls. And with every such political development where Rahul could have scored a point well above the others, something that he never did, questions on his intent became more and more routine.

Why did Rahul Gandhi took almost a week (Nido Taniam’s incident happened on January 29 last year) to call the Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, to ensure justice for Nido? Nido Taniam, a 20-year old student from Arunachal Pradesh, was beaten fatally by some shopkeepers in the Lajpat Nagar market of Delhi after he reacted to the racist comments by them, and who, later on, succumbed to his injuries.

There was a visible ‘bias’ in Rahul Gandhi’s visits to places like Bhatta Parsaul, Michpur, Maval and now to Bisada and Sunped, the Haryana villages.

Where his party was in power, Rahul Gandhi took some 8 days in visiting the crime scenes, i.e., in Mirchpur in Haryana in April 2010 where Dalits were murdered and tortured and in Maval in Pune in August 2011 where protesting farmers were killed in police firing.

While he was very active in visiting places where he was in political opposition like Bhatta Parsaul in Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh), the symbolic point of 2011 Uttar Pradesh land acquisition protests. During May 7-9, 2011, the village had violent protests leading to death of some policemen and villagers and Rahul, despite prohibitory orders, was in the village on May 11 to protest along with villagers. Same, we can say, about Bisada in Greater Noida and Sunped in Faridabad (Haryana, that has now a BJP government).

Farm suicides in Maharashtra have been a regular curse but Rahul was never so alarmed about visiting the state when his party’s government was there, but he mapped the country in most other areas considered crisis hotbeds of farmers’ suicides and agrarian crisis.

And if we scratch more, we will easily come across many more such instances.

The nation knows Rahul Gandhi is not corrupt. Instead, most political commentators prefer to call him a ‘reluctant’ (or forced) politician.

In retrospective, it seems he could never set his eyes on his targets or we can say he could never set his aims for his trajectory ahead or he was never careful about his political future ahead.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CAN THIS ‘ZAMEENWAPSI’ BE A GOOD BEGINNING?

As expected (and claimed), Rahul Gandhi met a group of farmers before the Sunday rally at the Ramlila Ground.

As expected, he did not make any press appearance.

Instead, Congress came up with a website – http://www.zameenwapsi.com – a day before the mega farmers rally on April 19, that in turn, is a day before the Lok Sabha resumes its Budget Session.

Many in Congress are naming the rally as Rahul’s comeback event but the wise ones are planning it as pro-farmers rally that is intented to launh a series of protests against the land acquisition amendment ordinance.

So, basically it is anti-BJP movement enveloped as ‘Congress’ hands with farmers’ and this website is a reminder of how desperate the Congress party is to reclaim the lost ground.

This ‘desperateness’ is visible in many forms and one is the leadership crisis in the party. Good days are always taken care of but the whole party looks at party’s first family with folded hands during bad days. No one talks of the any other possible leadership that would be natural choice in any other political party.

And this website, with all technicalities, is an extension to that.

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Here, the website begins with Rahul Gandhi (as expected). Sonia Gandhi, naturally, finds the place on the front page at the other edge. The second page is with Rajiv Gandhi. Manmohan Singh finds place on the third page along with Rahul and Sonia. After all, he is the previous prime-minister and it was under his government that the Congress’ land acquisition law was passed. Rahul was again on the fourth page.

Other Congress leaders are absent from the website (as expected). Also absent are Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shasti and Indira Gandhi. And above all, the site’s frontage misses Mahatma Gandhi though the timeline about land acquisition in India that it talks about dates back to 1894.

Typical measures by the Congress party, very typical to its halfhearted but desperate measures of now!

Hopefully, other leaders including the historical figures find their place as the days pass on, though the site, and overall activity by the Congress party, which aims to lead the political opposition in targetting the BJP led NDA government, has an inherent danger of legitimising Narendra Modi that no one in Congress is, perhaps, thinking about.

Can Congress start to reclaim the lost ground with this ‘return of the land to its rightful owner’ pledge?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AS EXPECTED (AND NOT EXPECTED), RAHUL GANDHI IS YET TO MEET ANYONE

As expected (and not expected), Rahul Gandhi is yet to meet anyone.

Reports say he is to meet some farmers next morning in the run up to the rally on Sunday. The farmers rally is a big thing for farmers and whether the party sees it as Rahul’s comeback event or not and the way ahead for the party depends on it.

So, the party is going full-throttle about it. Major Congress leaders and state satraps have taken the responsibility of arranging the crowd for the iconic Ramlila Ground, the epicenter of many historic rallies and movements.

So, Rahul is expected to meet the farmers tomorrow to reiterate them ‘Congress Ke Haath, Sabke Saath’ (Congress’ hands believe in taking everyone together.

And it the changed circumstances or the circumstances created after Rahul’s sabbatical or leave of absence (or absence, the way you want to put it) have made it like a ‘Rahul’s comeback event’, even if the whole machinery of Congress including its President Sonia Gandhi is looking ahead to make it a grand success.

Yes, like a mother, Sonia was there, yesterday and today, to greet and meet on Rahul’s comeback, and the day after. Priyanka Gandhi was also there yesterday.

Meanwhile, Rahul’s ‘leave of absence’ and his comeback continue to make for news elements. Even if the establishment was well aware of his whereabouts, his stay during the days of absence, his ‘reasons’ behind the absence, Congress’ leadership issue and old versus new guard would make for newsies in the days to come.

Rahul Gandhi is protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG) which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Also, he was out of India, using his passport, a service area under the Ministry of External Affairs. And as there is strong PMO (the Prime Minister’s office) this time, it would well be taking updates from the same. And a person like Rahul Gandhi cannot disappear like this, if the government and the top political leadership don’t want to.

Yes, it is a different matter if they (from the ruling party) don’t choose to tell us about him. After all, they are political rivals of the Congress party and have come to the power by defeating (a humiliating defeat) the later.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WELL, WHAT ABOUT RAHUL’S LOOKS NOW?

That is a million dollar question everyone should be asking.

Whether he would be in his beards and moustache or a new clean-shaven Rahul Gandhi will be unleashed before us?

The world, as we know, saw him today, this morning, for a brief period.

He was in car, a sports utility vehicle. And like his stature of coming from a political family like Nehru-Gandhi, he was in a sports utility vehicle, a big-sized one.

All we could catch of him was in passing moments the snapshot of which is not clear.

But what was clear that he was looking fit and was ‘clean shaven’, as revealed in this PTI image.

Rahul-PTI

So, is he charged now?

The face, in whatever passing reference, with a clean-shaved look, failed to tell us anything.

And given the spate of past failures – electoral, political and social – that gave him the epithet of a ‘reluctant politician’ – we are not going to guess it now.

Much depends on how he looks like and how he carries out his polity now irrespective of warring, demanding and celebrating Congress factions.

For the moment, he looks clean-shaved and fit, like one would expect him to be, after a long ‘leave of absence’ that included meditation sessions (including Vipassana).

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NOW THAT RAHUL GANDHI IS BACK..

Now that Rahul Gandhi is back, the Congress party needs to answer the following questions once again – question that are asked again and again – questions that have been asked with increased frequency during the 59 days of Rahul’s sabbatical (if we take February 16 as the starting day of his leave of absence) and the questions that will be asked with a ‘never -heard-of frequency’ now – the questions that are imperative for Congress’ future – the questions that have always been vital for the party post-2000.

What role will Sonia Gandhi play? Will she remain President of the party now?

Or some role bigger than a President will be chosen for her, given her age, her experience in Indian polity and given her necessity for a section of Congress’ leaders (or for that matter, the overall Congress)?

When will Rahul Gandhi make his first public appearance after his ‘return’? Will the April 19 Kisan Rally stand for his first public appearance as claimed by many Congress’ leaders?

When will he take over the Congress party from Sonia Gandhi? When will we come to know about his official coronation as the next Congress President?

What role will be entrusted to her elder sister, Priyanka Gandhi? Like the evergreen demands of the leaders from the grand old party of India – leaving Sonia Gandhi untouched or making Rahul Gandhi the party President – bringing Priyanka Gandhi to the mainstream of the party-politics also figures prominently.

Well, the government must be well aware of the whereabouts of the Congress party. After all, Rahul Gandhi is protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG) which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Also, if he was out of India, it would well reflect on his passport as his visit might be personal in nature, but it would have to follow the rules of land, i.e., entries in his passport. His overseas/abroad visits are bound to reflect on his passport maintenance of which comes directly under the Ministry of External Affairs.

And a person like Rahul Gandhi cannot disappear like this, even if he is in India where internet freedom is an issue – where a freedom fighter’s family, even if the freedom fighter in question is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, is subjected to various snooping methods like they were done in the British colonial India – where the government has extensive methods and elaborate ways to know about anyone.

Yes, it is a different matter if they don’t choose to tell us about him. After all, they are political rivals of the Congress party and have come to the power by defeating (a humiliating defeat) the later.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/